If Sen. Rick Jones (R) had his way, Michigan would be a medical marijuana-free state. Most recently, Jones sponsored a bill to outlaw medical marijuana for glaucoma patients. “I have met with multiple medical professionals, and not one of them has been able to tell me a benefit of treating glaucoma with medical marijuana,” Jones says. “In fact, a large problem is that many patients forgo the use of approved treatments such as eye drops and exclusively use medical marijuana, which increases their risk for permanent visual loss and blindness." Unsurprisingly, medical marijuana advocates disagree. “Used in combination [with prescribed medicine] it's proven very, very effective,” argues Tim Beck, political director of the pro-medical marijuana Michigan Association of Compassion Centers. “Anyone silly enough not to use their eye drops, well, maybe there’s something else wrong with them besides glaucoma.”
The Michigan Society of Eye Physicians & Surgeons sides with Sen. Jones. In a press release supporting his bill, the group claims that while prescription pot can reduce pressure in the eyes caused by glaucoma, its effects are short-term and won't effectively contain the disease. Other critics suspect that Sen. Jones, a former sheriff, is just continuing his general campaign against medical marijuana in the state: He previously has sponsored bills to disallow felons from selling medical pot and to prevent dispensaries from operating within 1,000 feet of schools and places of worship. "I think Senator Jones is completely opposed to medical marijuana law and is attempting to chip away at it by any means necessary," speculates Matthew Abel, executive director of the Michigan chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "Nobody I've talked to in the legislature expects his bills to pass."
There's a new kid on the block in rural America: Opana, a prescription drug with nine overdoses under its belt in Indiana, is seizing the title of small town America's favorite drug from Oxycontin and meth. While methamphetamine has long been associated with rural areas, opioids like Opana have surpassed meth as the most abused drug, especially in places like southern Indiana. Prescription drugs are responsible more US deaths than cocaine and heroin combined, according to the CDC, and people living in rural areas are twice as likely to OD on pills than their urban counterparts. "This Opana pill has really kicked us in the rear," said Sergeant Jerry Goodin with the Indiana State Police. "We've never seen an addiction like this." Local authorities are alarmed by the rise of Opana abuse, which they say started in 2010 after Oxycontin became more difficult to snort and inject. Opana is more potent per milligram than Oxycontin, making this drug particularly dangerous for people unfamiliar with the effects of high grade opioids. Like Oxycontin, Opana is either snorted or injected and is known on the street as "stop signs," "the O bomb," and "new blues." Endo Pharmaceuticals, who manufactures the drug, announced in December that they will reformulate Opana to make it more difficult for an abuser to crush. The new pill is in production now, making addicts desperate to get their hands on the current version—Fort Wayne, Indiana reported 11 pharmacy robberies related to Opana since news of the drug reformulation hit.
Colombian cocaine kingpin Jaime Alberto Marin-Zamora will spend more than 16 years in federal prison for trafficking drugs in to the US, according to today's ruling in a Miami court. The 47-year-old former leader of Colombia's "Norte del Valle" drug cartel pleaded guilty to smuggling some 30 tons of cocaine into the US between 1999 and 2004. Arrested on an island off Venezuela in September 2010, Zamora originally faced life in prison, but his assistance in other cases got his sentence reduced to a relatively soft 16+ years. The US has arrested and convicted several top leaders of the "Norte del Valle" cartel–one of the most powerful organizations in the illegal drug trade.
Bobby Brown has a "New Edition" to add to his rap sheet: The 43-year-old singer and ex-husband of Whitney Houston was arrested and jailed in Los Angeles yesterday under suspicion of driving under the influence. Law enforcement officials say he was initially pulled over at 12:20pm for driving while talking on a cell phone in the suburb of Reseda. However, police suspected he had been drinking and he ultimately failed a sobriety test. "Officers, when contacting him, noted intoxication on him -- the smell of alcohol -- and they performed some field sobriety tests," confirmed officer Tiana Reed. Brown was booked at Van Nuys jail for approximately two hours before being bailed out by his team. Brown has had numerous arrests over the years for drug possession and battery, among other charges, but this is only his second DUI conviction; his last one came in Georgia in 1996, which he spent eight days in jail for. Brown's arrest comes just a week after autopsy results revealed that Houston had numerous drugs in her system, including cocaine and marijuana, at the time of her death.
- Trayvon Martin's School Suspension Linked to Pot [MSNBC]
- DJ Deadmau5 Calls Madonna "Idiot" for Glamorizing Drugs [AceShowBiz]
- Lionel Richie, Kenny Chesney Duet: "Love' at First Drunk Dial [The Boot]
- 10 Things Alcohol Is Excellent at (Besides Getting You Drunk) [io9]
- Increasing Alcohol Prices Will Only Make "Pre-Loading" More Appealing [The Independent]
- Smokers Could Be More Prone to Schizophrenia, Study Finds [MedicalXpress]
- China to Ban Public Purchases of "High-End" Alcohol, Cigarettes [Bloomberg]
Things just keep getting worse for Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino: Crack sleuthing by TMZ has revealed that wardrobe guidelines at Cirque Lodge, where The Sitch is currently checked into rehab for addiction to prescription meds/exhaustion, will prevent the Jersey Shore star from displaying his world-famous six-pack (of abs). Beyond a strict prohibition on skin exposure, the guidelines also seek to prevent wardrobe malfunctions by banning muscle shirts, sleeveless tops, ripped jeans, hats, sunglasses and all clothing with obscene language. Seeing as how that sounds like pretty much everything The Situation has ever worn, could a total makeover—both spiritual and sartorial—be in the cards for the muscle-bound MTV icon?